Plaque Imaging: Pixel to Molecular Level


Laxminarayan, S.,
Suri, J.S.,
Yuan, C.,
Wilson, D.L.

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Coronary disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and the Western world and approximately 250,000 affected people die per year without being admitted to the hospital. One of the main reasons of such a high death rate without any diagnostics in more than 50% of myocardial infarctions (Mis or heart attacks) occur in patients with no prior history of heart attack disease or symptoms. Coronary artery disease leads to the occlusion of arteries that are vital in providing nutrients to the heart muscles. The disease develops by progressive accumulation or formation of 'plaque' within an artery. Certain types of arteries could occlude blood flow and yet might be 'stable'. These plaques usually have high fibrous content and are known as hard plaques. On the other hand, 'unstable or soft plaques' might not cause much occlusion but could be venerable to rupture. Rupture of such plaques could lead to total or partial occlusion in arteries resulting in sudden cardiac death or heart attack. In fact, 68% of the MIs are caused by rupture of plaques when coronary arteries are less than 50% occluded. This book is about plaque imaging covering both clinical and imaging aspects of plaque using Magnetic Resonance (MR), Computer Tomography (CT), Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS), Elastography and at Molecular/Microscopic levels.

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